De La Salle University looked like it already had their matchup against UE in the bag, but a late fightback by their foes in the fourth quarter reminded them that they always need to keep their foot on the gas until the final buzzer sounds.
Leading by 70-51 after a trey by Encho Serrano with 5:48 left in the game, the Red Warriors rallied behind Alvin Pasaol’s heroics to come to within 10, 67-77, with 1:44 left.
Two free throws and a trey from Andrei Caracut in the ensuing possessions, however, kept UE at bay.
Head coach Louie Gonzales didn’t like the way his boys gave away that momentum late in the game.
“I’m happy with the result for 38 minutes. But with how we ended it up, I wasn’t,” he said.
DLSU also failed to keep Pasaol in check after holding him to just five points in the first three quarters. UE’s scoring machine, who even failed to score a single point in third period, erupted for 17 big points in the final canto.
“We were controlling everything up to the third quarter. I checked the stats, hanggang third quarter we only limited Alvin [Pasaol] to five points. Tapos andun pa rin ako sa scoring average on defense na kinukuha ko. Pero ‘di namin natapos ng maganda. Nag-let up pa rin ‘yung bata,” Gonzales noted.
“At this point, we really cannot afford meltdowns especially at the last minute. We’re still on a stage where I’m trying to teach to them how to finish it strong. Wala kaming karapatan mag-relax. Wala kaming karapatan mamigay ng bola kasi we’re losing opportunities there eh. And it’s not the team that I want.”
A win is still a win, though, and this just pushed the Taft-based squad to a 2-1 win-loss record — good for a share of second place along with Ateneo and FEU.
They have a long way to go before they get to where they want to be, but they’ll take this one in stride while keeping in mind the improvements they need to make.
“We’re still far from comfort. Siguro ‘yung flashes of brilliance for the whole 40 minutes, if I’m gonna break it down sa tape siguro ‘yung collection noon nasa six minutes pa lang eh. It’s not yet there. Meron pa kong nararamdaman na iba ‘yung mentalidad, pero it’s getting there,” Gonzales said.